Civil Rights Movement
Idaho State University
Subject Matter: Social
Studies, History, Literature, and Math
Through the activities presented in this unit,
students will become familiar with the conditions of the African Americans
in the Deep South during the 1950's and 1960's and Jim Crow Laws.
Students will be able to:
- understand segregation and the approaches
taken to desegregate.
- identify major events and people involved
in the civil rights movement during the 1950s.
- identify legislative and government programs
that aided in eliminating segregation.
- sequence historical events in chronological
- demonstrate research skills using Internet
- design a monument to honor the Little Rock
- interpret information and make inferences.
- analyze facts and draw conclusions.
- identify and discuss points of view.
- identify cause and effect.
- apply critical thinking skills.
From the National Standards for History, grades
- Distinguish between past, present, and future
- Identify the temporal structure of a historical
narrative or story: its beginning, middle, and end (the latter defined
as the outcome of a particular beginning). (1B)
- Interpret data presented in time lines and
create time lines by designating appropriate equidistant intervals of
time and recording events according to the temporal order in which they
- Identify the central question(s) the historical
narrative addresses and the purpose, perspective, or point of view from
which it has been constructed. (2C)
- Read historical narratives imaginatively,
taking into account what the narrative reveals of the humanity of the
individuals and groups involved--their probable values, outlook, motives,
hopes, fears, strengths, and weaknesses. (2E)
- Appreciate historical perspectives--(a) describing
the past on its own terms, through the eyes and experiences of those
who were there, as revealed through their literature, diaries, letters,
debates, arts, artifacts, and the like; (b) considering the historical
context in which the event unfolded--the values, outlook, options, and
contingencies of that time and place; and (c) avoiding "present-mindedness,"
judging the past solely in terms of present-day norms and values. (2F)
- Draw upon visual, literary, and musical sources
including: (a) photographs, paintings, cartoons, and architectural drawings;
(b) novels, poetry, and plays; and, (c) folk, popular and classical
music, to clarify, illustrate, or elaborate upon information presented
in the historical narrative. (2I)
- Consider multiple perspectives of various
peoples in the past by demonstrating their differing motives, beliefs,
interests, hopes, and fears. (3B)
- Analyze cause-and-effect relationships bearing
in mind multiple causation including; (a) the importance of the individual
in history; (b) the influence of ideas, human interests, and beliefs;
and (c) the role of chance, the accidental and the irrational. (3C)
- Hypothesize the influence of the past, including
both the limitations and the opportunities made possible by past decisions.
- Formulate historical questions from encounters
with historical documents, eyewitness accounts, letters, diaries, artifacts,
photos, historical sites, art, architecture, and other records from
the past. (4A)
- Obtain historical data from a variety of sources,
including: library and museum collections, historic sites, historical
photos, journals, diaries, eyewitness accounts, newspapers, and the
like; documentary films, oral testimony from living witnesses, censuses,
tax records, city directories, statistical compilations, and economic
- Identify issues and problems in the past and
analyze the interests, values, perspectives, and points of view of those
involved in the situation. (5A)
Media Components :
America's Civil Rights Years 1954-1956 (Eyes on the Prize) Program 1,
produced and directed by Judith Vecchione. Videocassette Dist. By PBS
Home Video, 1986.
These web sites examine the events
that make up the Civil Rights Movement in America during the 1950's
and 1960's. Students can explore these web sites and determine for themselves
the important events and corresponding dates for their own time line.
- Brown Vs. Board of Education
This web site investigates the reasons for the case that reignited
the Civil Rights Movement in 1954. The students are able to explore
the conflict, reasons and outcome to the Brown vs. Board of Education
- Design a Monument
A web site featuring photographs, headlines and commentary about one
of the country's most famous struggles for integration in public schools.
The students will read the narrative and view the photographs to learn
about the first black students to attend Central High School in Little
- A bucket of new crayons and one with
- A bucket with pencils with erasers and
one without erasers
- Recycled paper and new paper
- Cutouts of circles and triangles with
Guide (Appendix A)
- Book- Warriors Don't Cry by Melba Pattillo
- Pictures depicting Jim Crow Laws (ex.
white/color water fountains)
Prep For Teachers
Prior to the teaching, bookmark all of the Web
sites used in the lesson. Load any plug-ins necessary to run the Web sites.
Cue the videotape to the appropriate starting point. Everyday the teacher
will read from the book Warriors Don't Cry by Melba Pattillo Beals.
Pass out anticipation guide. Have students fill out guide and then discuss
Divide the class in half. One group will
be the triangle group and the other will be the circle group. Explain
to the students that they will be participating in an experiment that
will last for one day. Apply the following steps:
- Triangle will be given brand new crayons for
class activities. -Circles must use old broken crayons.
- Triangle will use pencils with the convenience
of an attached eraser. -Circles will have access to only primary pencils
without any erasers causing them to scratch out mistakes on their work.
- Triangle will have access to new paper for
projects. -Circle will be permitted to use only recycled scraps of paper.
- Triangle will be given large workspace in
classroom. -Circle will be cramped into a smaller space.
- Triangle will be dismissed from class first.
-Circle will be dismissed from class only after triangles has been dismissed.
**After lunch have the groups switch places.
Discuss the term civil rights and what the students know about the civil
rights movement. List the students' responses in a Semantic map on the
Discuss the "Jim Crow" laws- state laws that mandated racial separation
in schools, parks, playgrounds, restaurants, hotels, public transportation,
theatres, restrooms, and so on. The allocation of funds for every segregated
facility demonstrated unmistakably who was entitled to the best and the
worst. Everywhere segregation was a symbol of supposed black inferiority.
Show the students the pictures that denote the
Jim Crow laws.
Introduce the Plessey vs. Ferguson case and the term "separate but equal"
to the students. The Plessy decision set the precedent that "separate"
facilities for blacks and whites were constitutional as long as they were
"equal." The "separate but equal" doctrine was quickly extended to cover
many areas of public life, such as: restaurants, theaters, restrooms,
and public schools. Sixty-four years later, in the Brown v. Board of Education
decision, the "separate but equal" doctrine was struck down.
Check for comprehension: Have students
re-evaluative their answers on the anticipation guide. Discuss changes
and whether they liked being judged by symbols.
Discuss the meaning of the term "time line".
Show the students examples of time lines from school texts and library
Divide the class into small groups. Have
students create time lines about aspects of the civil rights movement.
Students might use library sources or these suggested Web sites:
Have students present their completed time lines
to the class.
the Brown vs. Board of Education decision when the "separate but equal"
doctrine was struck down.
Hand out: "Discover the
Brown vs. Board of Education Decision" activity sheet and then asked
to explore the web site: http://www.digisys.net/users/hootie/brown/
and fill out the activity sheet. Check
for Comprehension: Discuss as a class, the activity sheet and the
information discovered on the web site.
Set up two rows of seven chairs. Place another chair in front of the left
row (for the bus driver). Place the white section sign on the chair behind
the bus driver. Place the colored section sign on the back of the fifth
chair. Have some students fill up the white section of the bus. Have other
students fill up the colored section. One of them should be Rosa Parks
who is in the row behind the colored section sign. The bus driver demands
Rosa Parks and the other person seated across from her to get up. Other
students are observing. Rosa refuses, but the other student gets up.
Have students discuss what they are feeling.
Hand each student a boycott flyer. Discuss what
a boycott is - semantic organizer.
Insert Eyes on the Prize: America's Civil Rights
Years 1954-1956, Program 1 into your VCR.
Provide your students with a FOCUS FOR MEDIA INTERACTION, and ask
the students to raise their hands when they hear the results of the vote
to continue the boycott. START the tape when the screen shows a
man walking down a hallway right after court scene and a man's voice says
" In Mississippi, a few black people stood up to the system, but it was
not enough. They're challenge was easily beaten back. Three months later
in Alabama, when many stood together… PLAY tape until newspaper
article about Martin Luther King, Jr. "The keynote speaker at Hole street
church…" STOP the tape.
- If they would be willing to go to jail for
what they believe in.
- Do you think that the boycott was an appropriate
measure to get their point across? Why or why not?
FOCUS FOR MEDIA INTERACTION
Have students rigth down two consequences of the Boycott.
START the video when the voice says "what a joy divine, leaning on
the everlasting arms" and right after Rev. Ralph Abernathy's interview.
PLAY tape until right after Martin Luther King Jr.'s interview is over
"Be willing to face the consequences whatever they are. And if filled
with fear, he can not do it". STOP the tape.
After experiencing the simulation bus ride and the video, students will
have better knowledge of how and why Montgomery had a bus boycott. Discuss
as a class the video and bus simulation and have them either get into
groups of two or three, or work alone to create their own bus boycott
Ask students to think of a time when
they felt brave and courageous. Remind them that a courageous act can
be anything from resisting peer pressure to saving someone's life. Encourage
volunteers to share their experiences. If students do not have a personal
experience to share, ask them to think of someone they know or a character
they've read about who they felt was courageous. Invite them to describe
the event and tell how they think that person may have felt.
Then ask students if they know what a monument
is. Tell them that a monument is a memorial stone or a building erected
in remembrance of a person or event. Help them name a few monuments, including
statues and markers in local parks, national monuments in Washington,
D.C., and others such as Mount Rushmore and the Civil Rights Memorial
in Montgomery, Alabama. Ask students if they know what any of these monuments
Distribute student project sheets and then direct
students to the web site
"Way Back: On the front lines with the Little Rock Nine"
to read about school integration. You may want to read the text aloud
and explain any unfamiliar words or phrases
Invite students to work in pairs to view the Web site and complete the
project. Have art materials, such as drawing paper, colored pencils, and
markers, available for students to use in designing their monuments.
Check for Comprehension: Have students
share their monument with the class and then display for the school.
In the video, a woman comments that
she walked eight miles every day. Have students calculate those eight
miles into feet, inches, kilometers and meters. For a realia experience,
have students go outside and actually walk just one mile so they can feel
how far just one mile actually is.
Students can write in a journal everyday
about how they feel after the teacher reads a part of the book: Warriors
Don't Cry by Melba Pattillo Beals.
Have the students watch a copy of Dr. Martin Luther
King Jr.'s I Have a Dream speech and then write what their dream for humanity
Complete further research on the bus boycotts.
Have students pretend to be reporters interviewing those individuals who
took part in the bus boycotts. Students should then write a play and act
out the play.
- Invite people in the community to come to
class and talk about what happened in our area during that time period.
- Students could interview people in their family
or in the community who were alive during the Civil Rights Movement
and share their findings in class.
- Have students conduct a community survey to
determine if racism is still present in today's society.
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